Have you ever wondered where the hundreds of marijuana strains come from? How did weed strains come to be and why are some strains stronger than the other? Let’s find out from our must-have guide for new cannabis users.
What is a Weed Strain?
A strain is a type of cannabis, a combination of two strains or the development of a strain to achieve a particular characteristic. For modern cannabis users, a weed strain is simply the name of the strain from a dispensary, names used to distinguish one strain from another.
Weed strain names provide users with information about the weed that they are going to consume. Most strains are named after their parent strains like Cinderella 99 x Amnesia Haze strain, powerful sativa hybrid. Some names give a hint as to the taste and flavor of the strain like Pineapple Express, a potent sativa. There are also strain names that tell you where the strain is from like Panama, Jamaican, or California Snow.
Weed strains may also be named after people who have made an impact in the cannabis world. Strains like Ringo’s Gift (after Lawrence Ringo) and Jack Herer are just some examples. Still, there are strains with very unique names owing to their weird but wonderful qualities like Girl Scout Cookies, Zombie Killer OG, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Alien.
But most of all, weed strains will tell you what to expect with cannabis. Strain “families” like Cheese, Blueberry, OG, Haze, and Cookies are very prominent breeds and are added to the strain name to give users a hint as to the effect, flavor, and taste of the strain.
Noting the strain names of weed will help you understand what you’re looking for in recreational or medicinal marijuana. But if you want to try different strains, broaden your palate and enjoy life, there’s no stopping you from trying all as long as you take your time and use cannabis in moderation.
And aside from the name of the strain, you must also learn about the general types of cannabis. There are three: Cannabis sativa, indica, and ruderalis strain. These come from one Cannabis plant but because weed is so diverse and can grow in almost all environments, these subtypes came to be.
General Cannabis Strains
The three subtypes of cannabis vary in growing characteristics, effects, flavors and tastes, and appearance.
Cannabis sativa or sativa originated from the hot and dry regions of the planet such as Africa, Southeast Asia, western parts of Asia, and in Central America. Because of the typical environmental conditions of the regions where they came from, sativas have grown taller, thinner, and developed leaves with a finger-like appearance.
Sativa plants grow very tall, even higher than 12 feet! Compared to other cannabis types, it can take a very long time for a sativa plant to mature sometimes 12 to 14 weeks to bloom. Because of their late flowering, sativa buds contain higher amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of weed, and have lower CBD, the therapeutic component of cannabis.
Sativas can produce a mental high. Sativa strains are energizing and stimulating; people new to consuming sativas may feel anxious. When properly used, sativas can make you more productive, creative, and positive; not lazy and lethargic. These strains are best used during the day to fuel a busy and tiring workday at the office or home. Just some of the most popular sativas are Panama Red, Durban Poison, and Acapulco Gold.
Cannabis indica strains came from the harsh and dry regions of the Hindu Kush mountain ranges. This plant was first seen in countries like Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Turkey. And because of their environment, indica plants have a short and compact structure. The leaves are chunky with a wide and broad shape.
Indica plants grow faster than sativas and will produce more buds; sativas only have one main cola. Indica strains are known for their high CBD content and lower THC and in a way, you can say that indicas are more medicinal than other weed strains.
Indica strains offer a very relaxing or calming high. Users prefer to consume indica strains at night to help them relax and fall asleep. There are so many amazing indica strains like Afghan Kush, Hindu Kush, and Granddaddy Purple strains.
Cannabis ruderalis strains are not as popular among users as Cannabis sativa and indica strains because these strains don’t have any psychoactive or potent effects. These strains have qualities that are more important to growers as these have amazing growing qualities.
Ruderalis comes from cold and harsh regions of the world. These plants were first discovered in areas of Eastern Europe, the Himalayan regions in India, Russia, and Siberia. Ruderalis plants tend to grow fast as these plants come from areas where days are mostly shorter in a year.
Cannabis ruderalis are the smallest Cannabis subspecies. These are bushy plants that don’t grow past a foot high. These plants grow fast and can be ready to harvest in just a month of growth. Weed from these plants has very little THC amounts and have higher CBD but are not as high to create any effects.
This strain has very low potency and thus it’s not regarded as a weed strain for recreational or medicinal use. It can also be used anytime as it produces very little effects. Cannabis growers breed ruderalis with Cannabis sativa or indica because of breeding results in strains that have faster flowering and growing times. The result of breeding plants with a compact size and will never need any special lighting schedule to start flowering.
Most of the strains available in local dispensaries and online weed shops are products of combining a sativa with an indica or vice versa. The resulting strain of any two different strains is a hybrid.
Hybrids plants came to be due to breeders’ need to develop new strains with particular characteristics. For example, when breeders want a strain with high THC levels and improved growing qualities, they combine a sativa with high THC and an indica that produces better yields. If a breeder wants a strain with high CBD to promote therapeutic use but can grow small and compact then he may combine an indica with a ruderalis strain.
Hybrids are commonly grown in indoor growing environments or greenhouses. The growing characteristics and physical appearance of the plant depend on the characteristics of the parent strains. Most hybrids are created to boost THC levels but each hybrid type comes with an improved ratio of THC and CBD.
Hybrids are more than just recreational strains but are also medicinal. Some hybrids offer better relief of pain while some are more effective in the treatment of anxiety or stress. It’s a matter of the natural therapeutic qualities of the parent strains. There are hundreds of hybrid cannabis strains in the market and the most popular are Pineapple Express, Blue Dream, Harlequin, and Trainwreck.
How Do You Choose the Right Cannabis Strain?
It’s easy to get lost in a weed dispensary with all the many strains available. But dispensary owners try to make shopping simpler and easier for consumers by grouping strains according to their uses. Here is an easier way to shop for the strain you need.
Recreational weed strains are strains with high THC levels and thus have more psychoactive effects. Users enjoy recreational strains with their friends as a way to unwind, relax, or to energize. In some dispensaries, budtenders can pinpoint exactly what their customers need by eventually asking if they want a stimulating strain or a relaxing one or if they want an energetic or a sleepy strain.
In countries or states that allow the use of recreational cannabis, age restrictions apply. In the US, you must be at least 21 years of age to buy recreational cannabis. In Canada, you must be at least 18 years of age to purchase cannabis from local and online dispensaries.
Medical cannabis strains are strains that have higher CBD content. CBD is the therapeutic component of weed and a higher CBD means there is lower THC content. Depending on where you’re located, you may need to present a prescription to buy medical strains.
Medical cannabis strains are very potent and it may be used by children and adults. A marijuana-friendly doctor can help you decide if medicinal cannabis is the best treatment for your condition. He will also prescribe the best strain and dose for you to take.
Not all dispensaries carry medicinal strains. The best way to find a good, reliable dealer is by asking your doctor.
How to Properly Use Different Cannabis Strains?
You might feel overwhelmed with a lot of information about cannabis strains but don’t worry. As long as you know what effect you want or the ideal strain for your medical needs, shopping for the right strain is very easy. Remember the following:
- If you’re new to using a particular strain, always consume a small dose. Observe your reaction to the strain before you take another dose. NEVER OVERINDULGE.
- Choose the best method of consumption that fits your needs. You can smoke or vaporize weed or weed products or you may use marijuana edibles. There are also other weed products developed according to users’ needs like tinctures, cannabis oils, concentrates (shatters, crumbs, butter, honey, and dabs) and cannabis tablets, capsules, and teas.
- Consider the cannabis side effects. All strains come with specific side effects depending on the type of strain. The most common side effects to watch out for are
- Dry mouth, dry eyes
- Increased heart rate and respiratory rate
- Reduced blood pressure
Almost all these side effects are related to the body’s reaction to THC and not due to CBD and other cannabinoids. The way you use cannabis may increase your risk of suffering from these side effects. When you smoke or vape cannabis, you can end up irritating your lungs and suffering from respiratory problems. When you ingest oral cannabis, the effects can take effect slowly. Vaping and smoking can take only a few minutes or sometimes a few seconds for cannabinoids to take effect.
Tips on How to Choose Different Cannabis Strains
Now that you know much about cannabis strains, consider the following when buying the best product:
What Do You Want to Achieve?
What do you want to feel or what medical or mental condition you want to treat? Do you want to improve your energy or you want to relax? Do you need to deal with pain or you want a strain for anxiety or stress? Talk to a budtender to get the best strain for your needs.
What is Your Weed Tolerance Level?
Are you new to taking cannabis or are you an experienced smoker? Some strains are known as beginner level strains or entry-level strains because these are mild and can be easily tolerated. Meanwhile, there are very potent strains and this may be due to their high cannabinoid levels.
Take Note of Your Medical History
Marijuana can interact with medications or drugs you may be taking. So if you have any existing medical condition and you use medication to control your symptoms, consider talking to your doctor. And if you want to use medical cannabis, consult a weed-friendly doctor beforehand.
How Do You Consume Cannabis
The way you consume cannabis should be considered as well. If you want instant potent effects, choose to vape or smoking cannabis. But if you want lasting effects, use cannabis edibles instead. If you want to treat muscle pains or joint pains using medical cannabis consider topical preparations like creams, oils, and lotions.
We hope this weed strains guide can help you consume cannabis whether you need a recreational or medicinal strain. Just remember to take your time, consume weed moderately and everything will surely work out fine. Stay safe and happy as you consume new and wonderful weed strains.